No matter where you’re traveling, it’s essential to exercise caution when using your devices. Not only are you at risk of losing valuable data or contracting malware, but you also risk having your identity stolen. About 1.5 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2017, and many were victimized while traveling. Many also lost or broke their phones while on vacation.
Follow these simple tips to help keep your data safe and secure while you’re on the go.
1. Do Your Research
Before you travel, take some time to research the local laws and customs regarding technology use. In some countries, it’s considered illegal to photograph specific landmarks or to use your devices in public places. In others, you may be required to declare your devices at customs. Knowing the laws before you go can help you avoid any potential trouble.
For example, did you know that in the United Arab Emirates, it’s illegal to use a VPN? If you’re caught using one, you could face up to two years in jail. In Singapore, meanwhile, it’s against the law to sell or distribute defamatory information. These are just two examples of the many laws that can impact travelers.
2. Use Durable Devices
Consider using durable devices if you’re traveling to a destination where you’ll be spending time outdoors or participating in activities like hiking or biking. If you take many pictures on your mobile device, you can opt for a rugged Android phone that can withstand falls and other accidents. If you’re spending a lot of time in the water, consider a waterproof case for your phone that can withstand drops and rough handling much better than a standard phone. There are also plenty of durable cases available for both iPhones and Android.
Some people also like to use action cameras, like a GoPro, for their vacations. These cameras are durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. They’re also great for taking photos and videos in low-light conditions. Some models can be attached to your clothing or equipment, making them ideal for hands-free use.
3. Keep Your Devices Secure
When you’re not using your devices, be sure to keep them in a secure location. This means avoiding leaving them out in the open in your hotel room or in plain sight in your car. If possible, opt for a room with a safe so that you can lock up your devices when you’re not using them. Consider hiding your devices in a locked suitcase or bag if a safe isn’t an option.
You should also take steps to secure your devices while you’re using them. When possible, use a password or passcode to lock your device. This will help prevent anyone from being able to access your data if your device is lost or stolen. If you’re using a laptop or tablet, be sure to use a strong password and avoid using public Wi-Fi networks whenever possible.
4. Use a VPN
Whenever possible, connect to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using public Wi-Fi. This will encrypt your data and help prevent others from snooping on your connection. Use a reputable VPN provider; free providers may sell your data or inject ads into your traffic. This is one of the most important steps to keep your data safe while traveling.
But as mentioned, using a VPN is illegal in some countries, so check the laws in your destination before using one. It’s also important to note that VPNs can slow down your connection, so you may want to disable them when you’re not using public Wi-Fi.
5. Be cautious with email and social media
Be careful about what information you share over email and social media while traveling. You don’t want to tip off potential thieves about where you are or what you’re doing. Avoid sharing your travel plans publicly and resist the urge to check into locations on social media until after you’ve left them. Many people have had their travel plans ruined by thieves who saw their social media posts and decided to target them.
To avoid this, consider creating a separate email account for travel that you only use for trip-related correspondence. This way, your primary email account will remain secure, and you won’t have to worry about someone gaining access to it and all of your other online accounts.
When it comes to social media, be sure to adjust your privacy settings so that only people you know and trust can see your posts. You may also want to avoid posting photos and videos while on vacation, as these can tip off potential thieves that you’re not home.
These simple tips can help protect yourself from danger when using technology while traveling. Remember to do your research before you go, keep your devices secure, use a VPN, and be cautious with email and social media. By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your next trip is enjoyable and safe.